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Ten Trends Impacting the Construction Industry, Plus Two

Construction Dive writer Emily Pfeiffer recently reported on 10 trends that are impacting construction today, and we thought that you would relate to them. They include: increasing labor shortages; increasing use of BIM and other technology on jobsites; homebuilder mergers in the wake of the Standard Pacific/Ryland Group deal; tightening home inventory; tiny houses becoming more than a fad; heightened attention on jobsite safety and penalties; the emergence of 3D printing and offsite or pre-fab construction; growth of the green building market; government crackdowns on corruption in construction; and millennials possibly moving into the first time buyer market.

Those are all great points to consider in your business plans. We have covered several of them in the past as well, but I would like to add a couple of trends that you might also consider as you make your plans for the next few years in your business.

First, succession planning is becoming more important than ever. According to Kevin Max, managing director of major projects advisory at KPMG’s New York office, during an interview with Construction Dive in May, construction is "an industry that evolves and moves rather slowly." The “shift change” that is going on in the industry will likely precipitate some rapid major changes in the industry and many family-owned builders are well behind the curve in their succession planning. Pat Kiley, founding principal of Kiley Advisors, says that, “[succession planning] is also the hallmark of companies that want to become true organizations, with foundations solid and deep enough to sustain themselves for generations.” He also says that many companies are involved in the process at an accelerated pace.

Second, politics do matter, especially today. There is a major shift going on in light of the skilled craft shortages and the slowly recovering economy. While we are in the election season, you will see politicians, especially on the left, pandering to the unions, and the unions using this cover to make a last ditch effort to re-enter some areas of the country where “merit based” construction has been the rule in many of the construction trades. These moves are going on behind the scenes and you should pay attention to the political issues through your industry organizations.

There are several other global moves that will impact the industry over the next decade, but the ones reported by Emily Pfeiffer and the two extras we added should be in your list of trends to watch for the health of your business.